bookboundlaurel asked: Hi Silvia, (May I call you Silvia?) I stumbled across your tumblr after seeing your "Blind Date with a Book" featured elsewhere online. I'm so glad I did, because I read here that you are a librarian at a university. I have recently applied to three MLIS programs in hopes of becoming just that! Would you mind sharing a bit about your experience as a student? Did you work on campus in a library, complete internships, etc.? (Also, Watson is absolutely adorable!) Thanks!
My MLIS is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their distance (LEEP) program is fantastic, but I moved from California to Illinois to attend on-campus, and had the advantage of taking a mix of in-person and online classes.
The coursework from my program was valuable — I despise the phrase, “I bet they didn’t teach you this in library school,” as if to suggest that the time I spent writing collection development policies, HTML, lesson plans, or mock grants would not contribute to my being a good librarian. It absolutely has, and I’m grateful for my graduate experience.
That being said, “I bet they didn’t teach you this in library school” usually comes up when I am:
So, while I don’t want to denigrate coursework, I do acknowledge that much of my librarian education definitely had to happen while in the library. It’s necessarily a combination of theory and practice (praxis!!!).
Throughout junior high and high school, I volunteered for the Children’s Department and the literacy program at the public library. In college, I worked for the library, and had a research assistantship with the English Department. In graduate school, I had an assistantship with Central Reference for the Main Library (now Reference, Research, and Scholarly Services). The assistantship gave me experience with a huge variety of questions, databases, and print resources. I also had the chance to practice teaching library instruction sessions, build research guides, and work in a beautiful space. In addition to the assistantship, I had a practicum for a semester with the English Library (now the Literature and Languages Library) where I got to do some collection development (read: book buying!) and displays.
It was the best and snowiest time.
I will leave you with these two pictures from that time I was in library school. Good luck with everything!
p.s. Jean-Louise is currently a MLIS student at the University of Illinois, and may have advice about how she chose her program/what it is like right now. I am three years out (whoa).ask librarian library school bookish
Anonymous asked: Do you mind telling me what book was in the bottom left of the first picture in the blind date with a book post? It says, if you love grand adventures, survivalists, hackers, and MMORPGs on it. Thanks in advance!! <3
Reamde by Neal Stephenson, one of Librarian Jason’s selections.librarian jason ask
lasombrereraloca asked: Would it be possible for you to post the descriptions you wrote for the Blind Date With a Book and link them to the Amazon page for the corresponding book?
Sure! Here is a selection of titles visible from the pictures, and what I can remember.
momo-log said: Were you a fan of the Wayside School books when you were growing up? I remember a bit about a potato tattoo. (ACE)
I was! One of the characters got a potato tattoo and I was like, “yea, right on!”
Remember that chapter where they made ice cream flavors out of people? Only not in a weird cannibalistic way. I think someone’s dad was able to distill the essence of people into ice cream flavors? I want that to be real because I think we could learn so much about each other if we knew each other’s flavors.
I think Watson would be apple flavored with pop rocks throughout. Conor is minty cream soda. I am probably potato flavored, which is not great. Ah, well. We can’t all be delicious.ask
Anonymous asked: If you were a root vegetable, what root vegetable would you be?
No competition: potato!
Watson’s full name is Watson Potato. I scan menus for mentions of potatoes to order only potato-adjacent meals. I sneak potatoes into soups where they have no business being. My list of things I would consider tattooing onto my body includes the potato plant.
Now I am realizing that I am dooming myself to an existence where I would always want to eat myself. Eh, that seems okay.ask watson
Anonymous asked: can you explain your job in detail? my interest is piqued!
My “librarian” tag is not extensive, but it collects what I’ve said previously. Notably, there is a post with an overview of my day, and another talking about why I am a librarian. Both were written well over a year ago, though, and much has changed.
Some things are still true — I plan outreach events (puppies!), serve on committees, and send piles of email every day. Each week I spend nine hours at the reference desk and four hours answering virtual reference questions (phone, chat, text, and email).
Since last Spring, however, I am also co-managing my unit (Access and Information Services). Jason and I split the administrative functions, but work together on things like space renovations, getting services ready for Finals, meeting agendas, public use policies, and the like. We also generally cover for each other and talk through staffing or teaching ideas — he’s an awesome librarian.
My areas of management in the unit include: student facing computers (software, hardware, security), setting hours for four University Libraries branches, signage (promotional, directional), accessibility issues, group study rooms, and operational statistics. I’m working on setting up a popular fiction section. I have two staff members who report to me.
I also set the schedule for the reference desk at our “main” (not really main, but largest and busiest) library, make sure shifts are covered when people are out, train new people on reference, keep people notified when there are printing/database/service issues, and act as the person who gets called over when an angry patron demands to see “someone in charge.”
Anonymous asked: Um, dirty chai is the BEST! Also, Watson is a moose chasing a goose who was let loose by a man named Bruce. Miss you! Kelli
Today Kelli brought me a library book, a chai latte (sorry, Conor) (I’m totally kidding) (Conor is pro beverages of all kinds), and the following snacks:
She also brought the only thing better than snacks — a bear!!
max kelli ask
Anonymous asked: Would you ever get Watson a dog-brother or sister? Or a cat-brother or sister?
I am happiest when, for whatever reason, dogs outnumber people. For example, in this silly picture of me and Kelli:
The nice thing about my life is that this kind of ridiculousness happens on a regular basis. Watson gets the best of everything and I get to sit in a pile of puppies.
The sad thing about my life is that it is nearly 4 AM and I am writing a teaching philosophy statement. I teach at 8 AM. At least once a week, I have a 12 hour day. I travel frequently. I am lucky to have Kelli and Tina. They love Watsy and mitigate the worst aspects of my schedule; I am forever grateful for the times they walked him or took him to the park with a Max, and the weeks they cared for him while I was away. This is one of my favorite pictures of Kelli and Watson:
This is all to say that while it would be amazing for Watson to have dog siblings, I do not think it would be responsible or reasonable. Nor do I need more dog than Watson, really. He is as affectionate, funny, vindictive, and clever as any dog could be, and we are best friends.
Clearly, I am procrastinating. I should get back to work.
Are you tucking the harvest into your pinafore? You are like Heidi of the mountains, my dear. <3
Not a pinafore, but a dress I wear around the house. Good point, though. I need a pinafore!
Funny reference because my mom is dismayed by my affection for dirt and Watson’s grubby paws. “Stop being Heidi!” she always says. “You and Watson should sit and eat cookies quietly at home instead of getting muddy in the mountains.”
I wonder how Watson will like your city? And Boston? I hope Boston is snowy this January. Watson in the snow would be a good hang.ask watson
Anonymous asked: Ms. Silvia Skywalker - are you dating Conor because he resembles Harry Potter?
This has to be a question from someone who knew me in high school when I read many Star Wars novelizations and Harry Potter fanfiction (no shame. Owning my past).
To answer the question, though — I am not dating Conor because he resembles Harry Potter. I am dating Conor because he looks like Conor.
And…mayyyybe a little bit because when he wears my glasses (we have nearly the same prescription YES I KNOW WE ARE GROSS) you get a hint of Ira Glass. That’s fine, right?
Oh, wow. This is the most embarrassing post, ever.ask clh don't mind me just over here looking at pictures of conor totally normal his face it is so handsome I am working on better long distance coping mechanisms you know other than visiting his professional site and fangirling like I could start running he is running ha ha I am hilarious I am not going to run I am going to make soup and talk to Watson Isn't Conor handsome? I will ask and Watson will say ugh you are annoying can I please eat a whole cucumber? and I will say no not a whole cucumber but here you can have a slice okay? and he will be like yea okay fine.
Anonymous asked: What's your favorite piece by Milton Byron Babbitt?
After much thought and listening, I am going to go with “Play it Again Sam.”babbitt clh ask
Anonymous asked: Do you remember what you were doing three years ago today? (Hint: it involved driving to the middle of cornfields in Illinois!)
Look at that puppy face! Such a great face.
That is my knee and Oscar on the day he and Kelsey met. Happy Birthday and Adoption Day and Tuesday, Oscar. I love you!
Three years ago feels like such a strange and faraway place — in a good way. I would never have guessed life would be so happy in three years. We didn’t even have puppies (can you believe we didn’t have puppies?).
Someone just asked me (at the reference desk), “What is the first planet in the solar system?”
“Mercury?” I said.
“Ah, I knew you were a college girl,” he said.
I wonder how many puppies we will have three years from today?ask oscar shoutout to kelsey keyes
Anonymous asked: I'm bamboozled. What does clh stand for in your tags? It's not Cute Little Hens. It's not Current Life Hassles. Or maybe it is? TOO MUCH MYSTERY.
No, neither of those, though I’m glad to have the former and few of the latter.
CLH are my boyfriend’s initials. Conor lives in New York, plays the piano, hosts some radio, and has truly exceptional hair. He likes right angles, iced coffee, and music inspired by birdsong.ask booooyyyyyfrienddd clh eeeeeeeeeeee let's eat potato chips and talk about serif fonts you are pretty your books are organized by subject and author your closet is so neat
bookowl asked: The Iowa cheese: is it Maytag Bleu? That's dynamite stuff.
It sure is! Good job, Iowa. It was notably good alongside avocados on toast.ask
Anonymous asked: have you ever made homemade dog treats for watson? i have two westies too, by the way! watson is a handsom chap.
I have! I used to roll peanut butter, oats, and chicken livers (blech) into cookies for Watson. He even had his own set of cookie cutters.
Recently, though, he and the Maxes eat more carrots, apples, and radishes than anything else, so it doesn’t make as much sense to bake a big batch. When they eat cookies, they get Sojo or Old Mother Hubbard treats.
Are your westies on tumblr? Watson loves looking at his friends on the internet.ask